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Current Issue : Fall 2009

A Novel Approach for a Blended Mission

For-profit philanthropy innovates in two important and related ways. It pursues philanthropic purposes using business methods and leveraging business resources. It also places its philanthropic activity in a new setting, as an integrated division within a for-profit company. The structural innovation responds to Google’s concerns about the feasibility of pursuing its business-infused philanthropic program through traditional charitable forms. Its novel approach, however, raises real concerns about whether current for-profit or nonprofit law is up to the task of enforcing its uniquely blended mission.

Professor Dana Brakman Reiser

Professor Dana Brakman Reiser is an accomplished scholar in the field of governance of nonprofit organizations. Brakman Reiser’s recent scholarship focuses on legal and social ramifications of the increasing trend toward hybridization of nonprofit and for-profit endeavors. Her work in this area includes For-Profit Philanthropy, 77 Fordham L. Rev. 2437 (2009), from which this article is excerpted, and Governing and Financing Blended Enterprise, — Chi.-Kent L. Rev. — (forthcoming 2010). She also has written extensively on nonprofit accountability and governance, and the role of members and other non-fiduciary constituencies in nonprofit organizations. Her scholarship in those areas has appeared in various law reviews and an edited volume, Nonprofit Accountability Clubs: Voluntary Regulation of Nongovernmental and Nonprofit Organizations (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2010).

Brakman Reiser is a member of the Executive Committee of AALS Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law Section and the Government Relations Committee of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York. In 2007, she was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Young Lawyer Award by the American Bar Association’s Nonprofit Corporations Committee. In addition to her courses in nonprofit law, she teaches corporations, property, and trusts and estates.

This article is excerpted from For-Profit Philanthropy, published in 77 Fordham Law Review 2437 (2009).